ARM Joint Venture Aims at Mobile Security, Will Rival Intel-McAfee Efforts

ARM is teaming up with two European security vendors to create security solutions for mobile devices, echoing what Intel is doing with its McAfee business.

ARM Holdings, whose chip designs power almost all smartphones and tablets on the market, is teaming up with two European security companies to create a joint venture to create a common security standard for such mobile devices.

ARM officials announced April 3 that they are teaming up with Gemalto and Giesecke & Devrient to create a standard for everything from smartphones and tablets to games consoles and smart televisions. The goal is to bring security closer to the hardware, making the devices more secure and fueling greater innovation around products and services, according to ARM.

ARM€™s partnership with Gemalto and Giesecke & Devrient mirrors what Intel is looking to do through its $7.68 billion acquisition of security software maker McAfee last year. In announcing the McAfee deal, Intel officials said that traditional security software approaches could not adequately address the billions of new network-connected devices€”including PCs, mobile devices, TVs, cars, appliances and medical devices€”that were coming onto the market. They argued that such devices needed to bring security closer to the hardware to make it more reliable.

In addition, security increasingly was becoming a key issue among computer users, right up there with energy-efficient performance and connectivity, Intel officials said.

ARM CEO Warren East echoed those sentiments.

"The integration of the hardware, software and services necessary for system-wide security has been slow,€ East said in a statement. "I am confident that this new joint venture will accelerate the adoption of a common security standard, enabling a vibrant ecosystem of secure service providers to emerge. This will be a significant step in terms of improved consumer trust in secure transactions on connected devices."

Products from the joint venture will be based on solutions from the three companies and will give manufacturers technology they can use to better secure their devices, according to ARM officials. Gemalto and Giesecke & Devrient, both of which have been ARM partners, offer security solutions to governments as well as the financial and mobile industries, the companies said. All three will bring technologies, people, equipment and money to the project, with ARM owning 40 percent of it and the other two companies owning 30 percent each.

Ben Cade, vice president and general manager of ARM€™s Secure Services Division, will be the CEO of the joint venture. The initiative is subject to regulatory approval, according to the companies.